Review: Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk

Nippon Ichi’s latest release Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a first-person dungeon crawler where you play Tractie – that is, the Tractatus de Monstrum – a mysterious book with a soul trapped inside, able to communicate by filling out its pages. Tractie is under the control of a witch named Baba Yaga, or Dronya as she goes by in the village of Refrain. The titular labyrinth is a no-go area for humans, so Dronya decides that Tractie is going to explore on her behalf, and throws it down the well that serves as the entrance to the labyrinth.

You’ll need to report back into Dronya after fulfilling a set requirement in order to progress the game. Early on this is a bit frustrating, as it means you have to abandon your position in the labyrinth to get back, but eventually you’ll learn a skill called Mud Exit which creates a one-use portal to teleport back to, making exploration much easier.

Read the rest of my review on Push Square.

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2018 Challenges: August Recap

I’ve not updated on the 2018 Challenges since March, so you’d think I’d have a lot to update you on, right? Think again…

Watch 30 ‘First Watch’ Films

Rather pitifully, I’m still sitting at 1 on this, and I’ve not even written the review on it. One review shouldn’t be too hard for me to do (you’d think…) so I’m still going to try and get back on track and get this challenge done.

Watch all of Naruto

Oh, Naruto. I had the best of intentions to watch all of you, but uh… I’ve still only watched the 2 episodes. Realistically, am I going to get the other 218 watched by the end of the year? That’s 16 weeks, so 13ish episodes a week, which actually doesn’t sound too bad. I’m fairly optimistic about this, perhaps stupidly so, but we’ll see!

Watch 30 anime series

Now the summer season shows are wrapping up, I’m hoping to add a few more to this number, but so far I’ve watched 13 different series. I was really burning through anime when I was commuting to work by train, but now I carpool so that’s put the kibosh on any commute-anime-watching. Still, a quarter(ish) of the year to go so another doable one I think.

Platinum 12 games

I’ve never been as confident about something as I am that this challenge will be met. I’m currently sitting at 10 platinum trophies for the year (and 69 overall). I’m currently working on two games; Detroit: Become Human on the PS4 and Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds on the Vita, which will bring me up to my total.

Whilst this was originally a bit of a struggle for me, especially last year, I’ve found in the last couple of months or so that I’ve started to enjoy trophy hunting again.

I’m hoping to get platinum reviews up for the games I’ve done so far, so stay tuned!

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

Cosplay is one of the things that has sort of fallen by the wayside. I haven’t made anything since February, and I’ve not even done any costests, which should be a simple thing to do. I really want to get into cosplay properly again and continue improving the basic skills I’d learnt, but I’m not sure 3 cosplays from scratch is viable by the end of the year.

I am working on one cosplay from scratch for MCM London in October, but even that’s looking a bit dicey!

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

Now, I’m not being defeatist, but there is absolutely no way this is happening. My cinema-going habits have changed drastically, and while there is a cinema about half an hour away from my house, I’ve got no one to go with (get out your tiny violins). I don’t actually mind going to the cinema on my own, you can’t talk there anyway so it doesn’t matter to me, but it’s one of those things I never seem to be able to make time for unless someone else is accompanying me.

I’ve seen 22 films in the cinema this year, and I’ve written reviews on THREE of those. Can you see why it’s not happening? I had every intention of going back and writing reviews, but honestly, I don’t feel like I remember the early films enough in order for me to write a decent review.

So, to save me feeling defeated at the end of the year, I think it’s best to scratch this one off now.

Update

Life happens, huh?

I’m well aware that I’ve been neglecting the site of late, but I’ve had a lot of personal goings on that have had to be dealt with and have been my priority. Whilst I’d like to say that I’m in a better place, I’m not, so let’s skim over that.

Many of my hobbies have fallen by the wayside, which is not only really frustrating but also really limiting. Writing and photography have always been my own creative outlets, and lately I’ve felt like I can’t do either. Nothing I have produced has passed my own quality testing, and I’ve just been left really disheartened.

While a break from photography seems to have done the trick there, I’m becoming increasingly aware that my writing hiatus has been going on far too long, and I just need to push through it. So, here I am, pushing through it.

I’ve been busy planning content, but now I just need to get on and write it. I’m setting myself personal goals that I want to be posting at least once a week, so hopefully this is something I can keep up with.

2018 Challenges: March Recap

So, I bailed on doing one of these for February. It’s not that I hadn’t achieved a lot, it’s just that I got really busy with a lot of stuff and didn’t really have time, and then before I knew it, we were well into March. So before we get too far into April, let’s have a look at where I was at the end of last month!

Watch 30 ‘First Watch’ films

I was off to a flying start on this one at the beginning of the year, but I’ve stalled somewhat since then. I will get back on track – I’m still only at 1 film watched, The Pianist, and I still haven’t written my review for it yet.

Watch all of Naruto

Oh man. I had the best of intentions when I put this challenge down. I really want to watch Naruto still, but just… it’s so time consuming. My progress with Naruto has become a bit of a running joke between me and my friends, who will just randomly ask, “How’s Naruto going?” to shut down a conversation. I’ve still only watched the two episodes, so I’m about 65-70 episodes where I need to be for this time of year. The spring anime season is so busy for me as well, so I don’t foresee this actually happening, but I might surprise myself and everyone else.

Watch 30 anime series

As of the end of March, I’d completed 2 anime series this year. This has now actually increased in the last few weeks, and I’ve made a lot of progress very quickly. I’m pretty confident on this one.

Platinum 12 games

I sprang out of the blocks on this one at the beginning of the year, and I’ve just sort of… stayed there since. I’ve been focussing on clearing my backlog (or trying to) instead of platinum hunting, so this is still at 1 platinum trophy. I’m confident I can claw this back.

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

I’m having a debate with myself about what constitutes ‘from scratch’, and how much of a costume I’ve made before it counts for this. I made a lot of my recent Sasha Braus cosplay, but not everything. I’ve not made anything else this year, apart from a skirt for Violet Evergarden. The sad thing is none of my cosplans involve me making everything for the costume, but plans change so we’ll see if this happens!

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

By the end of March I’d seen 15 films in the cinema, but only reviewed 3 of them. I’m still planning on getting at least a small review out for all of them, so stay tuned! This is pretty encouraging progress on at least the film-watching aspect of this challenge, so that’s something!

2018 Challenges: January Recap

For January I’ve been focusing a lot on my personal goals for the year rather than too much related to the 2018 Challenges, so progress has got off to a slow start. Having said that, I am really pleased with the small amount of progress I’ve made (and a great start to my personal goals also!), so here’s what’s been going on.

Watch 30 ‘First Watch’ films

So I’ve actually equalled my total from 2017 on this front, but I’ve watched something on my First Watch list. Celebrations all round! A review is in the pipe-line (recurring theme), but I watched The Pianist. Hooray!

Watch all of Naruto

Perhaps my weakest area, I’ve only watched 2 episodes of Naruto. I was afraid I wasn’t going to like it, but I really do, so me being behind isn’t down to lack of enjoyment, it’s mostly just a lack of time and having to prioritise my free time to other areas.

Watch 30 anime series

So for January I haven’t actually managed to complete any anime series. I’ve started a lot of ongoing shows and something from my To Watch list from MAL. I’m hoping to really turn this one around come February.

Platinum 12 games

Well and truly on schedule for this one. I platinumed Telltale’s Batman after it came free on PS+. A platinum review is forthcoming!

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

I’m having a really hard time planning my cosplays this year. My next couple aren’t going to be entirely from scratch though a lot of the elements are. My main issues are that I’ve not got a lot of conventions lined up, so I’ve not really got anything to plan for which makes things a lot harder.

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

I think this challenge might potentially be the one I struggle with most this year. I’ve watched 9 films in the cinema so far but have only written reviews for two of them. I struggled enough to get those reviews out as I felt really out of practice writing a film review, it somehow feels like a totally different process to writing a game review, which I suppose it is in many ways. I do want to get them done and catch up with myself, so again, these 7 reviews are going to be hitting the site imminently.

 

As always, you can follow my progress on Twitter by following me or on #cs2018challenge.

Review: Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is one of my favourite anime, so when I saw that a cinema near me was doing a screening of the release of the live action film, I jumped at the chance to get tickets.

tg

In all, I really enjoyed the movie. It’s not perfect by a long stretch, but it’s a really good adaptation of the anime and manga, and stuck faithfully to its predecessors. There weren’t really any moments I could nail down where I could comfortably say “It didn’t happen like that in the anime/manga”, and trust me, I’m always the first one to point out that sort of thing.

Tokyo Ghoul is let down by some of it’s not-so-special effects. So much of the plot is reliant on CGI, so it’s really disappointing that the CGI was so subpar. It really took me out of it seeing the ghouls fighting using their kagunes which were just laughably bad. Really, I think this is the only negative I can say about the whole experience.

The movie does showcase some really stellar acting. Masataka Kubota in particular was especially convincing as Ken Kaneki, managing to show off his inner turmoil at becoming a ghoul. There are some really great moments later on in the movie where Ken is being overtaken by his ghoul side where you can really feel how the experience is affecting him and how troubled his mind is.

7 star

2018 Challenges: First watch films

So, I’m revamping the ‘New old’ films, as that was a bit of a clumsy title. These are the films I’ll be watching for the first time, so the feature is now ‘First watch films’, inventive right?

Anyway, here is the updated list of the 30 films I’m definitely going to watch for the very first time in 2018.

  1. Planet Of The Apes
  2. Die Hard
  3. Psycho
  4. The Godfather pt. 2
  5. Silence Of The Lambs
  6. Rocky
  7. Gone With The Wind
  8. Schindler’s List
  9. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  10. American Beauty
  11. The Princess Bride
  12. Reservoir Dogs
  13. Good Will Hunting
  14. Dead Poet’s Society
  15. The Usual Suspects
  16. LA Confidential
  17. Lost In Translation
  18. Watchmen
  19. Garden State
  20. Leon
  21. The Terminator
  22. V For Vendetta
  23. Taxi Driver
  24. The Pianist
  25. Donnie Darko
  26. The Sixth Sense
  27. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  28. The Princess and The Frog
  29. The Matrix
  30. Inglourious Basterds

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